GALVESTON, Texas – Moody Gardens guests get a special treat this summer: the chance to see two pygmy slow loris offspring, born June 13, on exhibit in the Rainforest Pyramid. Breeding of this species is often challenging and uncommon in captivity. Moody Gardens is one of only four facilities to have a successful pygmy slow loris birth in 2011.
“They are very cute,” said Paula Kolvig, assistant curator at Moody Gardens. “We are excited for our slow loris family, and even more excited that our visitors will be able to see them grow up in the rainforest.”
The addition of the twins is a valuable boost to the population of this primitive primate species called prosimians that are found in tropical forests of Vietnam, China and Cambodia. Currently, there are only about 75 pygmy slow lorises in North American zoos and aquariums and fewer than 200 in captivity worldwide. Due to numerous environmental threats, the wild population is dwindling, and the species is listed as a threatened species by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.
To bring this mammal back from the brink of extinction, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which Moody Gardens is an accredited member, created a Species Survival Plan program for the pygmy slow loris. The birth at Moody Gardens was a great success of this cooperative breeding and conservation program, which helps ensure the survival of the species in both wild and captivity.
The babies were born to mother Luyen and father Icarus. The parents are 11 and 15 years old and have been a special part of the Moody Gardens animal collection for seven years.
“Icarus is off exhibit while the twins are very young, so they spend their day by Luyen’s side for comfort and nursing,” Kolvig said.
Visitors can see Luyen and the twins in the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens. For information, visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.